Hello, people of the internet!
Before I begin, I want to mention an important fact about my reading preferences. Not just because I writing a post so I can write whatever goes through my mind (heck, my posts would never make sense to anyone only to me – in fact, the day when even I don’t understand what I’m going on about would be a sad day indeed…anyway), but because it’s important to this review. You see, when I read a story for the first time, I prefer it when I have absolutely no idea of what’s going to happen. It keeps me on my toes and keeps me guessing. So when I came across this book and was told it’s a cover version of The Winter’s Tale, a Shakespeare play I haven’t read about, I was interested. I even wanted to look up The Winter’s Tale afterwards to compare the two.
To my surprise, when I opened the book, it gave a summary of The Winter’s Tale anyway.
I still read it, but had the idea that the plot wouldn’t deviate from the original much.
So, what it worth the read?
Title: The Gap of Time
Author: Jeanette Winterson
Publication date: 23rd June 2016
A baby girl is abandoned, banished from London to the storm-ravaged American city of New Bohemia. Her father has been driven by jealousy, her mother to exile by grief.
Seventeen years later, Perdita doesn’t know a lot about who she is or where she’s come from – but she’s about to find out.
Jeanette Winterson’s cover version of The Winter’s Tale vibrates with echoes of Shakespeare’s original and tells a story of hearts broken and hearts healed, a story of revenge and forgiveness, a story that shows us that whatever is lost shall be found.
If any of you reading now is wondering if The Gap of Time changes any major plot elements of the original, then I’ll let you know now and say no. I knew what was going to happen and why, even though this is the first time I have read The Gap of Time. Yet I finished this book and enjoyed it, so what is there to enjoy for a reader who enjoys unpredictability in books like me? In The Gap of Time, there is plenty.
The Gap of Time is pretty much The Winter’s Tale, but in a modern time and setting. Sicilia isn’t a country, but a company. Bohemia from The Winter’s Tale is now New Bohemia. The characters from The Winter’s Tale are the same characters in The Gap of Time, but with altered names (the majority of them anyway), jobs and back stories. This is where the differences between the two stories are found: within the characters themselves. Now, I did connect these characters quite a bit. There were a few I found funny and entertaining, some threatening yet willing to repent, and others smart and intriguing.
This is the first book I’ve read written by Jeanette Winterson. And boy, does she know how to write beautiful passages! It may have slowed the plot down, but it added strong atmosphere and character to whoever was narrating at the time. In fact, dare I say she is a very good writer! When there are tense moments, I was on the edge of my seat, despite knowing what will happen anyway. During the jealous rages and violent sections, I was incredibly shocked at how far it went. The way she wrote made it easy for me to connect with the characters and understand them. However, I found the dialogue at times were a bit too wooden and too much like exposition for my taste. There were also sections where I had no idea whose point of view I was reading (particularly during the intervals). I did have to read back to understand it. But apart from that, I really enjoyed Jeanette Winterson’s writing.
But, and this is a big but for me, I can’t give this book a higher rating for this reason: I don’t think of The Gap of Time as its own story. I think this: The Gap of Time, the cover version of The Winter’s Tale. The blurb as well as the story itself acknowledges the fact it is a cover version. Yes, this version is different, but all I think about The Gap of Time is that it is a cover version. And personally, I don’t like thinking that. I’m sure that this is Jeanette Winterson’s intention, due to how the book ends, but it doesn’t work with me. I’m not saying that this is a terrible thing. If this is something you think is wonderful and should be done more often, then I have no right to tell you you’re wrong. I’m just saying that I prefer stories to be their own thing rather than copies of something else. This is the first book I’ve read that acknowledges itself as a cover version and I know now that they’re not really to my taste.
I will give The Gap of Time 3 stars out of 5. Jeanette Winterson’s writing does make me want to read more of her work, especially with her own plots and characters. If you love reading cover versions, then I would say this is a very decent book for you to read.
Thank you for reading!